Florida Derby’s top two doing fine

Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Materiality and Upstart, the first
two under the wire in Saturday’s Florida Derby, are both doing fine the day
after the race.

“He pulled up well and is just coming back from Gulfstream now,” trainer Todd
Pletcher reported about Materiality. “It was a very determined effort. He
showed his tenacity. It was a long drive from a half-mile out over a very
demanding surface and against a very good horse. I thought it was very
impressive for him to be able to do that in his third start.”

Materiality, owned by Alto Racing, was making just his third career start in
the Florida Derby and only 22 days after winning a minor stakes at Gulfstream

“It’s pretty rare that you see a horse go from a 6-furlong maiden race to a 1
1/8-mile situation,” Pletcher said. “It’s not something that we’d planned on
months ago. It just sort of gelled at the right time. Honestly, I wasn’t
really expecting the Islamorada (stakes on March 6) to even be an option. When
it came out in the condition book and he breezed well, we decided to go ahead
and try it. I was very concerned about the 1 1/8-mile distance. When he
handled that so well, it changed everything, really. It basically put him in a
position to come back in the Florida Derby, so it just sort of came together
at the right time.

“I think he’s certainly earned his way (to the Kentucky Derby). Five weeks
should be beneficial since we ran back in 22 days, but it’s also a long time,
so hopefully he continues to do well.”

Upstart, the runner-up trained by Rick Violette, is also doing well after his
1 1/2-length loss.

“He’s a little tired, but otherwise he’s OK,” Violette said. “The horses ran
lights out and the jockeys did their jobs. They put on a terrific show. If all
things stay well, we’ll stay here and train and head up to Kentucky on Derby